When something spills, it falls to the ground. There’s something that comes from a container, usually a liquid, and it usually makes a mess on a floor, on furniture, on a street, or on a person.

  • Michelle spilled water on herself.
  • When Peter tripped on a piece of carpet, he spilled the drink he was carrying.
  • Someone spilled coffee all over the floor.
  • Try not to spill!
  • Don’t spill that!
  • Diane spilled some wine on the table.
  • An oil tanker spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico, and it left a big mess.
  • A truck tipped over and spilled milk on the highway.


Oops! He spilled his coffee.

The word "spill" can be used as a noun:

  • Workers were sent to the area of the spill to clean it up as quickly as possible.
  • Oil spills are damaging the environment.
  • You need a bucket of water and a mop to clean up a small spill.

You can also use "spill" as an adjective:

  • Someone has to clean up all of the garbage that spilled onto the highway.
  • Spilled paint must be cleaned up quickly before it dries.
  • At many gas stations there’s the smell of spilled gasoline.

There are a few expressions that include the word "spill."

  • Thomas spilled the beans and ruined the surprise party. (spill the beans = reveal a secret or a fact)
  • A suspect for the crime spilled his guts to the police. (spill one’s guts = confess)
  • Too much blood was spilled in a meaningless conflict. (blood spilled = death or injury)
  • There’s no use in crying over spilled milk. (spilled milk = a small mistake)
  • Much ink has been spilled in reporting on the President’s errors. (ink spilled = writing)
  • The skier took a spill and broke her leg. (take a spill = to fall and become injured)

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October 23, 2018